A cancer within the system


One of the nation’s most active innocence commissions, the California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice, reported yesterday on the woeful state of indigent defense in many California counties.

"This is like a cancer within the system of providing indigent defense, and it's spreading," said Gerald Uelmen, executive director of the so-called Fair Commission, calling the spread of low-bid, flat-fee private firms "a race to the bottom."

Inexperienced, overburdened and negligent defense representation has contributed to countless wrongful convictions, and inadequate defense for the poor nationwide continues to contribute to cause injustice and inequality in the system everyday.

The commission recommended that California lawmakers create a panel to oversee the way counties fund public defense, and also recommended a law to ensure that the state funds investigators and experts for poor defendants.

Read the full story here:

San Jose Mercury News, 04/18/08

Read the commission’s full report here


Read the

Innocence Blog post last week

on indigent defense shortages around the country and signs of hope on the horizon.

Read more about how overworked – or negligent – defense attorneys have c

ontributed to the problem of wrongful convictions


Read more about the work of the

California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice and other innocence commissions

around the country.

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